View Full Version : if i delete it, is it really gone?

06-22-2002, 10:22 AM
i saw a news program about the 14 year old girl in utah who was kidnapped a few weeks ago, and in the story, it was noted that the FBI had seized about 20 computers of family members and near-by neighbors.

anyway, the "expert" guest was saying that the FBI techno-nerds have a way of recovering deleted internet files that one has downloaded on their computer. he kept going on and on about how the average computer user knows nothing of this, that only experts know how to dig in and recover info.

i was under the impression that downloaded internet files could be removed by deleting cookies, temp files and temporary internet files, as well as clearing the history and emptying the recycle bin. am i wrong about this?
does the hard drive still contain info on sites one has visited even after deleting the contents of the above mentioned folders? if so, how much space does this take up?

06-22-2002, 10:41 AM
EVERYTHING you do with your computer gets stored in the OS in several places, many of these places aren't reachable if you are going through the OS (which means that deleting everything you CAN with windows, as you mentioned, such as recycled, cookies, temp files)
In dos, there are other archive type folders that are difficult to find, even in dos mode, unless you know EXACTLY what you're looking for. These are the "security holes" that caused so much furore a while back. As a matter of fact , Germany got out of using Microsoft stuff for their gov't computers due to the fact that almost EVERY computer on the planet running windows has so many secret areas, and many even have secret doors to get into those areas without the user even KNOWING.
So, if you think you've got something in your computer that no-one else must see, better get yerself one a them "techno geeks", cause it ain't an easy problem to fix. (erasers like Eeraser and HistoryKill I wouldn't trust, they've got spyware apps of their own...)
Check out Gibson Research Technologies if you want to read some SCARY facts about "security". Hope this helps. WOOOOO!!!

06-22-2002, 11:50 AM
For more info on this important subject, go here (http://home.adelphia.net/~jr44772/Links.htm) and click on the link about Microsoft's really hidden files.
(I can't post the direct link to the site here, because the website uses an offensive word in their IP address.)
I'm more inclined than Mabudon to recommend the 'Evidence Eliminator' types of applications. Spyware, or not, these apps can go into your hidden directories & files before Windows loads, and delete the secret records of your IE activity and overwrite the deleted sectors with garbage. If you instruct the software to overwrite the sectors 7 times, it will take a long time but supposedly afterwards even the NSA can't recover your old files.
And be sure to use your e-mail's "compact" option on your messages folders frequently to minimize the amount of your deleted, but still recoverable emails.

06-22-2002, 12:17 PM
I have been wondering, does formatting the hard drive delete things such as that?

06-22-2002, 12:35 PM
yes, but repeating the formatting process several (up to 7) times is the only way to make the data completely unrecoverable.
I don't want to think about how long it would take to reformat a 40 gig HD seven times! Ack!!

06-22-2002, 12:37 PM
Yeah, considering it wipes the whole computer and redoes everything.

I think also when you "cut" a file from a computer and put it on a floppy, it won't have ANY info on the computer at all since you actually moved all the info, and didn't delete it. There are ways to delete files forever, but when they say stuff like that they're not only stating crap which has known for quite awhile, but they're also trying to intimidate you.

06-22-2002, 12:44 PM
I recently reformatted my 20 gig hard drive and it took about 6-8 hours. But I guess if I was really evil I would just reformat my hard drive a lot if I had something evil to hide.

06-22-2002, 06:33 PM
thanks for the info guys.:)

but, what is the purpose of having these files and info so hidden?is microsoft downloading this info when we're online?

is microsoft using this info and selling our browsing histories to 3rd party groups, or is it being passed on to the government?

if i get a really big magnet and set it next to my computer, would that erase everything?:crazed: cause i have about as much a chance of winning the lottery as navigating the instructions on the site SWAFman sent me to.:)

but thanks SWAFman, i'll check out that site some more.:)

06-22-2002, 06:45 PM
Yeah. What you do is, if you have something you have to really hide, you destroy the disk utterly and totally. Burn/submerse in water/throw in dumpster.

If the FBI raid your house and you weren't alerted to it, you won't have time to format your hard-drives anyway.

Disk encryption would be the only way to try to keep anybody out, but its not easy, and even then, its no guarantee that anybody couldn't decrypt it.

06-22-2002, 06:57 PM
If the FBI gave you a suprise raid, then you should have a special little something attached inside your computer to make the componets fry.
Or make a virus that could eat your system which you could flip on.

Not that I've got anything to err, hide either of course.

Jedi Clint
06-22-2002, 07:03 PM
You can write zeros to the drive with some formatting software. Information is stored in 1s and 0s (on and off) so when you write the drive full of zeros it should erase any order that had been imposed on the surface when files were created. I have been able to recover data after a drive has been simply formatted or when the FAT has been damaged or lost. As long as nothing has been written over the physical location of a file, that file is still intact.

06-22-2002, 07:23 PM
There are programs like Norton (and others) that allow you to erase a SPECIFIC file or folder. It will allow you to CHOOSE how many times you wish to "overwright" the file/folder.

There are actually LOTS of programs on the market...some good...some bad. I personally try to stay away from freeware, adware and spyware.

I also use a secondary program for cleaning my temp files. Though, mostly for routine maintenance on the system.

To COMPLETLY destroy any possible data I would recommend:

defraging several times
reformating your hard drive
downloading a BUNCH of LARGE file until the hard drive is almost full
defrag again
reformat the hard drive 7-10 times
remove the hard drive
run a powerful magnet over the disk several times
then burn it in a BIG bon fire.

Or just stay away from the porn sites.;)


06-23-2002, 09:17 PM

good one sith killer.:)

i'm not so much concerned as to what actually is on my hard drive, i'm just wondering what is the purpose of this info being stored even after the user thought it has been deleted.

does anyone know why microsoft has done this?

06-23-2002, 09:22 PM
because they can. ;)

Jason B
06-23-2002, 09:45 PM
sorry, that was me "in disguise". I just didn't want to take the trouble of logging out. ;)
yes, when you delete stuff, it still remains on the disk. All it does is delete the directory entry for the data, but all of the data itself remains. (you can do the same thing for a CD-RW, you can erase the TOC {Table of Contents}, which takes less than a minute, or you can format the entire disc, which takes 20 minutes+, depending on the speed of your drive.)
you can get a program, like others have said, and they do work, they even trick windows into thinking that the drive is full, even though it isn't. It really is odd, but you do what you have to. not that i have anything too awful illegal on my drive. ;)

06-23-2002, 10:03 PM
Jason B,

are you saying you are also Dryanta?
and how are you posting if you are not registered, but have over 300 posts?

Dar' Argol
06-23-2002, 10:35 PM
*sniff sniff* I smell something in here . . . . . . .

*sniff sniff*

Yep, I definitly smell something I haven't smelt in a long time . . . . . . .


06-23-2002, 11:54 PM
Dar' Argol, it may be paranoia, but when you hear in the news about a whole family - including aunts & uncles - having their PCs confiscated and the contents searched for any morsel of an e-mail or image file that could be twisted into a motive for kidnap (or worse) of a 14-yr. old girl in Utah, you can't help but think that, but for the grace God, there could go I/any one of us. Heaven forbid any of us, or our relatives should be faced with such a tragedy as the Smart family is going through. But if it were to happen, and I, as a nearly forty-year old man, were found to have one of those "hottie" pics of Natalie Portman that some of you linked to from this very forum, how long do you think it would take for some over-eager cop or prosecutor to try to twist that into me being a pervert? I can't think of many ways a guy's life could be more ruined than to be linked to a child sex investigation. No one would ever care if it were true or not. You'd be branded for life. Naturally, the best defense is to stay away from that sort of online content. But I'd be willing to wager that practically every guy over 18 (and many under 18) with a connection to the internet has, at one time or another, "gone over to the dark side" of the web.

06-24-2002, 12:18 AM
Swaffy, you are so right!

Uh, not about the dark side of the web thing ( :D ), but the part about miscontrued intentions with a seemingly harmless pic!

(derek, Dryanta is Jason B's uncle, I figure he didn't log out Dryanta's name :) )

So back to the "paranoia" as Dar' Argol calls it - I understand precisely 62% of all the technical stuff you guys posted, and I'm ready to tear my hard drive from the shell and beat it mercilessly! :crazed:

06-24-2002, 06:12 AM

But seriously, there is definatly a privacy issue at stake here.

As for the "dark side of the web" there are tons of sites out there. Warez sites, porn sites, links to UNKNOWN sites. Some sites are intentionally set up as traps that flood your screen with a hundred pop-ups and there's no telling WHAT you have on your computer then.:eek:

06-24-2002, 09:51 AM
Yeah, the web can be a dangerous place. I've gotten that flood of popups too, now if only I could remember what it was I was looking for when it happened...............
Oh yeah, forget it. Look out for .dll's that you don't remember installing, especially.
Oh and look out for the Klez worm virus, it's been making the rounds lately, it runs in the background and is pretty hard to spot if you're not too "tech" minded. It can do a LOT of damage, and will get all of your friends too, if you don't stop it.

Jason B
06-24-2002, 10:42 AM
yes, Derek, Caesar was right, he didnt log out, and i was checking posts on his name, and I posted as him, then came back and posted under my own name. When i logged him out, I saw the Guest Avatar thing, and i put it as mine for a while.:)

Originally posted by Mabudon:
Oh yeah, forget it. Look out for .dll's that you don't remember installing, especially.

bad, bad habit of getting into. get Ad-Aware (http://download.com.com/3000-2094-10045910.html) instead. you take the wrong .dll out, and you very well could be screwed. in theory, you could, just put them in the recycle bin, and reboot, and if it something doesnt work, then just restore it. but why would you want to? ;)

Dar' Argol
06-24-2002, 10:36 PM
Guys, guys, guys I was kidding . . . . . . . . . . you know jokes . . . . . . . . . . . . things that make you laugh . . . . . . . . . .ok, this is a laugh: Ha ha haha ha h hahh! See . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'm not getting through am I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Is this thing on???:D:D:D

I understand all the paranoia. expecially now(I'm not sure if it went through or not) the FBI can come into you home at anytime, with no probable cause and look for info without you even knowing it or leaving you a note about what they took, as they have had to do in the past. Its a very scary thought. But, as long as you have not givin "Big Brother" and reason to even look your way, there is no reson to get all freaked out. That's what I was trying to get across in a humorus way:p

Humor??? Oh, boy:rolleyes:. Humor is like . . . . . . . . . . . .:D

06-24-2002, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Dar' Argol
Guys, guys, guys I was kidding . . . . . . . . . . you know jokes . . . . . . . . . . . . things that make you laugh . . . . . . . . . .ok, this is a laugh: Ha ha haha ha h hahh! See . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'm not getting through am I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Is this thing on???:D:D:D

Humor??? Oh, boy:rolleyes:. Humor is like . . . . . . . . . . . .:D

I thought it was funny... :confused:

Jason B
06-25-2002, 09:23 AM
I would like to set up an FTP, but I have a question for anyone who knows anything about this. Can I set it up so everyone's blocked, except for IP's that I specify? That would be really sweet. ;) :D

06-25-2002, 11:30 AM
I am sure that FTPs require usernames & passwords to connect. They can also be setup to use username = anonymous, so anyone can d/l on a site with no restrictions, but you should always be able to set the user name & password to something unique so only authorized users can download. Here are a couple info links:

anonymous FTP (

non-anonymous FTP (http://www.serv.net/Help/Tutorial/ftp.html#anon)

Jason B
06-26-2002, 06:21 PM
I hadn't even thought of the User Name/Pass thing. I know that you can ban certain IP's, I'll just have to set up a user/pass system, and then ban people that I dont want in there, as soon as I get Cable and a spare box. :rolleyes: ;)